Using Exercise to Fight Fatigue at the Wheel

Many times when a driver starts to feel tired, they turn up the radio or roll down the windows. While these actions may help with their fatigue for a moment, it is extremely important to wake up the body and increase oxygen flow to the brain. A good way to do this is through exercise. Exercise can be done both inside and outside of the truck. Remember to keep hydrated as well, so keep your water bottle filled up and think about looking into taking an electrolyte supplement to stave off your fatigue.

Below are some simple exercises you can do to help fight fatigue:

Exercises you can do in the truck

Shoulder stretch

Raise your right arm above your head. Bend your elbow. Reach your hand behind your opposite shoulder. Hold for a count of 3. Repeat with left arm. Do 5 repetitions, alternating each arm.


Shoulder and arm stretch

With your right arm, reach across your chest, taking your hand beyond the top of the right shoulder. Hold for a count of 5. You should feel a gentle stretch to the right shoulder blade. Repeat with left arm. When quietly sitting, use your free hand to push the elbow forcing the hand further beyond the shoulder.


Chin tucks/neck stretch

Turtle Exercise. Hint: The key is to NOT tilt your head, but to flatten back of neck. Draw your chin inward toward your neck, making your chin disappear. This gives a double chin appearance. Use one hand to gently guide your chin back further. Hold for count of 3. Repeat 3 times.


Upper back tension reduction

Force your left elbow into the seat back, and hold it for a count of 5. You should feel your shoulder blade and back tightening. Alternate with right elbow. Do 5 repetitions alternating each arm.


Lower Back Stretch

Never sit slouched. Whenever uncomfortable, use a lumbar roll in the small of your back, just above the buttocks in the hollow of your back. Always sit erect, as if you had a lumbar roll (small rolled towel.)

Exercises you can do outside of the truck

Calf and heel stretch

Put your heels over the edge of the curb keeping toes and front portion of feet on curb to support you. Touch an object for stabilization and balance. Rise up and down on your toes and balls of feet 5 times. Allow your heels to sink down to provide a gentle stretch to your heels and calf muscles. Do this slowly 5 times and it will allow the heel cord to lengthen.


Low back lumbar stretch

Hint: the key is to NOT move your stomach forward. Back up against truck bumper or car fender, a bathroom sink, or something similar. With you hips remaining stable, bend your shoulders backward. Allow your shoulders to move past the plane of your hips. Repeat 5 times. Do not allow your hips to move forward.


Hip tone and stretch

Holding onto a solid object for balance, shift weight to right leg and gently stretch left leg backward at the hip. Keep the knee stiff (straight.) Count to 3 while gently stretching. Alternate using the right leg. Repeat 5 times with each leg.


Brisk walk

Take a 3-minute uninterrupted brisk walk to increase your heartbeat and promote a mild increase in your breathing. Walk around the parking area or on the sidewalk. Take long steps and swing your arms. It may take several trips. (Slip into a jacket during the cold months.)


Curb stepping muscle toning

Step up on curb with your left leg, then your right leg. Step down with your left leg, then right leg. Repeat the sequence slowly 5 times. Next, change legs, leading with your right leg. This should increase your breathing activity and cause you to be slightly winded.

These types of exercise should increase your heartbeat and breathing rate, helping you to feel more alert. However, if you still feel sleepy, you must pull over and take a nap, or find lodging and stop for the night. Never jeopardize your safety or the safety of others in the name of on-time service. Safety is always first, but it is also important to communicate any delays.